“Fear State” is in full swing plunging the various Batman comics into the latest storyline event. But, this event feels a bit different. There’s a self-awareness to it all that feels like its been missing for a long time. Even fatigue has set into the Batman books with one disaster after another and “Fear State” actually addresses that in many ways. In fact, it’s a setup to the plan by Scarecrow. For that alone, it makes what’s going on a bit more interesting. Batman #113 takes some steps back in the story exploring what Scarecrow’s plan is and that includes an explanation of the meta.
James Tynion IV has hit his stride with Batman as the series not just delivers an event that’s self-aware but also one that further ties into the bigger picture story that is “Future State”. Simon Saint’s plan for his police force is underway but Scarecrow has played Saint using the materials gained to run an experiment all his own. Batman #113 has Batman unsure if he’s been compromised so asks Ghost-Maker to dip into his consciousness to see what has been tampered with. It’s all very comic-book in a good way. A little silly but it works. We also learn some history, Ghost-Maker has a past with Crane, aka Scarecrow.
That revelation feels a bit forced if anything. This character who just so happens to have come back into Batman’s life just so happens to have history with the major bad and know their goal/plan. It’s a little silly and a quick way to get to that revelation. Is it a derailed moment? Not really, but it definitely takes me out what has been a very solid story up to this point. For readers, the issue is, the discussion is a reminder of things we’ve learned before and elsewhere. We know Crane’s plan if you’ve read the comics leading up to this. So, this feels like the moment where the character explains everything to the audience so new individuals can catch up. Is it needed? Maybe. Does it take those following out of the story. A little.
The art by Jorge Jimenez is fantastic. With color by Tomeu Morey and lettering by Clayton Cowles, the comic looks fantastic. There’s just enough “horror” in Batman’s mind to keep up the “fear” aspect of everything. What’s been impressive is the story for the past few issues has played off of the classic visual of Scarecrow without rehashing them. They feel like an homage in some ways that way. The comic looks fantastic in every way.
We also get a back-up story featuring Clownhunter from writer Brandon Thomas, artist Jason Howard, and letterer Clayton Cowles. Generally an ok story, the entry doesn’t quite deliver enough. What’s weird is, if the chapters so far were one comic, things would be a bit better. Than serialized nature of this story feels like it’s hurting it a bit. There’s a flow that’s really solid to it all as Bao sinks into his nightmare but that only really works as the flow continues.
Batman has been an excellent series and Batman #113 does a good job giving us a slight break for new readers and laying out the challenge and what might be ahead. It’s a slight pause to the flow but it’s still not bad and does answer at least one issue, how did Scarecrow mess with Batman’s head. As a slice of the overall story, it’s solid. On it’s own, it’s a bit wobbly though.
Story: James Tynion IV, Brandon Thomas Art: Jorge Jimenez, Jason Howard
Color: Tomeu Morey Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.4 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
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